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April 4, 2014
Space to Ground - 4/4/2014

Josh Byerly:  Welcome to Space to Ground. Your weekly look at what’s happening on board ISS. I’m Josh Byerly.

The three newest station residents are getting used to their new home in space, since their arrival last week.

Steve Swanson, Oleg Artemyev and Alexander Skvortsov are going through standard onboard orientation, spending a few days learning their surroundings and practicing with the emergency equipment. The crews keep their skills sharp for three main emergencies on board: fire, depressurization and toxic chemicals.

A couple of Russian cargo ships will swap places next week.

The Progress 54 will depart the station on Monday and be sent into a destructive reentry into the atmosphere. The Progress 55 will then launch on Wednesday and dock with the Russian segment of the space station about six hours later. We’ll have live coverage on both NASA TV and nasa.gov.

There are many ways we study how our immune systems respond in space. One of them actually takes a look at the astronaut’s spit. It’s true.

It’s called the Salivary Markers study. Saliva, as well as blood, urine and other samples are gathered from the crew while they’re living on board the station to better understand how the immune system responds to living in space. This data will be extremely important when we start taking longer journeys to an asteroid or on to Mars.

This week’s social media question is from Rohan. He asks how much electricity the station’s solar panels make in a day.

Well there are eight solar arrays on the station. Each one generates 12 kilowatts of electricity while in direct sunlight. And with 16 orbits a day, that’s 192 kilowatts for each array. That’s a lot of power. For comparison, the normal house in the U.S. uses about 30 kilowatts per day.

Make sure to keep sending your questions and comments using the hashtag #spacetoground. 

On a personal note, this is my last episode of Space to Ground. My friends and colleagues will take it from here while I go explore some opportunities outside NASA. It’s been the honor of my life to be part of this. And while I can’t say “See you next week” like we usually do, I’ll just say “See you next time.” Bye everyone.

Page Last Updated: April 4th, 2014
Page Editor: Jerry Wright